The 15th PING Invitational will be the ultimate test for 72 of the best junior golfers in the world. The field is split down the middle with 36 boys and 36 girls set to take on one of the most challenging courses on the schedule in Karsten Creek Golf Club. The 54-hole, stroke-play tournament will take place October 8-11 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The PING Invitational is organized in partnership between PING, the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and Karsten Creek Golf Club - ranked No. 24 in Golf Digest's list of "America's 100 Greatest Public Courses" for 2021-22.
About The PING Invitational Field
From Rolex Junior All-Americans to AJGA champions and college commits, the 2021 tournament field is loaded with talent.
Here are some highlights from the field:
- Five international countries represented (Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Philippines)
- 17 states represented (California has the most juniors in the field with 22)
- 33 college commits
- 33 Rolex Junior All-Americans
- 56 AJGA champions
AJGA Champion Highlights
Of the 56 players who've won a tournament, four players enter this weekend with an AJGA Invitational title already on the year.
- Benjamin James of Milford, Connecticut, is the top-ranked boy in this year's field at No. 2 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. The Virginia commit is having quite the year already, with wins at the Scott Robertson Memorial, Team TaylorMade Invitational, Northern Junior Championship and Junior PLAYERS Championship. James finished tenth at the 2020 PING Invitational.
- Kiara Romero of San Jose, California, won her first AJGA Invitational at the 2021 Polo Golf Junior Classic at Liberty National. She also finished third at the AJGA Lake Las Vegas Junior and eleventh at the Mariah Stackhouse Girls Invitational. Romero is a 2020 Rolex Junior All-American and No. 13 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
- Michelle Liu of Vancouver, British Columbia, enters her first PING Invitational already with two wins on the year. Liu won the UHY St. Louis Junior and the Mariah Stackhouse Girls Invitational. She's No. 6 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
- Avery Zweig of McKinney, Texas, is No. 5 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. She kicked off the year with her first AJGA Invitational victory at the Diamond Resorts ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex.
Six of the Top 10 Boys in the Rolex AJGA Rankings to Compete
2 Benjamin James of Milford, Connecticut
3 Caleb Surratt of Indian Trail, North Carolina
4 Eric Lee of Fullerton, California
5 Bryan Lee of Fairfax, Virginia
9 Luke Potter of Encinitas, California
10 Anawin Pikulthong of Gilbert, Arizona
Seven of the Top 10 Girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings to Compete
2 Anna Davis of Spring Valley, California
4 Bailey Shoemaker of Dade City, Florida
5 Avery Zweig of McKinney, Texas
6 Michelle Liu of Vancouver, British Columbia
8 Yunxuan (Michelle) Zhang of Plano, Texas
9 Karen Tsuru of Carlsbad, California
10 Sara Im of Duluth, Georgia
The PING Invitational History
The inaugural PING Invitational took place in 2006. The first edition of the tournament was won by 5-time Rolex Junior All-American Andrew Yun and four-time Rolex Junior All-American Esther Choe. In addition to her victory at The PING Invitational, Choe also won the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the Polo Golf Junior Classic that year.
Jordan Spieth is the only two-time Boys Division champion in tournament history (2008 and 2010). Spieth's 2010 tournament record of 8-under-par 208 was broken by Canon Claycomb in 2017 when he eagled the final hole of the tournament to reach 9-under-par 207.
Noah Goodwin, a two-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year, fired the lowest round in tournament history during the second round in 2016. His 9-under-par 63 remains the lowest round to this day. Ariya Jutanugarn holds the Girls Division record at 6-under-par 66, which she shot in 2011.
Two-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year Rose Zhang joined Spieth as a two-time winner of the event when she came from behind in 2020. Her first PING Invitational victory came in 2018 when she won by one stroke over Erica Shepherd, Sadie Englemann and Bohyun Park. Zhang and Spieth remain the only two-time winners of the event.
Past champions are listed below:
2020 - Kelly Chinn and Rose Zhang
2019 - Event was canceled due to weather
2018 - Michael Thorbjornsen and Rose Zhang
2017 - Canon Claycomb and Lucy Li
2016 - Noah Norton and Paphangkorn Tavatanakit
2015 - Spencer Soosman and Nelly Korda
2014 - Donnie Trosper and Kaitlyn Papp
2013 - Brad Dalke and Megan Khang
2012 - Gavin Hall and Alison Lee
2011 - A.J. McInerney and Jaye Marie Green
2010 - Jordan Spieth and Kristen Park
2009 - Emiliano Grillo and Rachel Morris
2008 - Jordan Spieth and Victoria Tanco
2007 - Gregor Main and Vicky Hurst
2006 - Andrew Yun and Esther Choe
PING, a golf club manufacturer with the goal to help golfers play their best, has been an AJGA supporter since 1990 and began supporting the PING Phoenix Junior in 1991. The PING Invitational, one of the AJGA's top Invitationals held over Columbus Day weekend, began in 2006 at Karsten Creek. The PING Junior Solheim Cup, the all-girls match play biennial event, has received worldwide recognition and many participants are able to say they played for their country as a junior and professional.
An Official Partner since 2002, the golf club manufacturer sponsors PING College Golf Signing Day and became "The Official Bag of the AJGA" in 2009. In 2010, PING debuted golf bags for all AJGA champions. PING also became the AJGA's first Legacy Partner in 2020.
About Karsten Creek Golf Club
Former Oklahoma State University head golf coach and current Athletic Director Mike Holder first envisioned Karsten Creek Golf Club in the 1970's. His goal was to create a sanctuary for college golf. With the help of renowned golf course designer Tom Fazio, that dream took shape over the next two decades.
On May 9th, 1994, Karsten Creek Golf Club officially opened, and was named "Best New Course" in the country by Golf Digest.
The course was named in honor of the late Karsten Solheim, founder of Karsten Manufacturing (PING). Lake Louise, featured on the finishing holes, was named in honor of Karsten's wife.
Karsten Creek Golf Club is home to the Oklahoma State Men's and Women's golf programs.